Tiong Bahru, Singapore

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Tiong Bahru – a housing estate in Bukit Merah, developed in the 1920s. Still standing here are a couple of blocks of Art Deco, Streamline Moderne-style complexes that remind me of retro airport buildings. There is also a long row of hip cafes and bakeries here where you can enjoy everything from Thai to Western to French. But if you like something more local, simply cross the street and have your pick from numerous stalls at the sprawling Tiong Bahru Market (which supposedly has a couple of Michelin Bib Gourmand stalls under its roof). Continue reading “Tiong Bahru, Singapore”

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Back in Singapore, October 2018

Casa Garcia ❀
I’ve been to the Lion City several times for work or transits, and while I’ve always enjoyed my visits and soaked up as much as I can, I’ve never really done the tourist circuit properly.Β  Continue reading “Back in Singapore, October 2018”

Taiwan: Zhongshe Flower Market in Houli District, Taichung

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One of my favorite memories from our Taiwan trip last month was our visit to Zhongshe Flower Market in Taichung’s Houli District. Continue reading “Taiwan: Zhongshe Flower Market in Houli District, Taichung”

Taiwan: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Old Street, Jiufen Village

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On our second day in Taiwan, we explored 3 popular spots in the north: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Old Street, and Jiufen Village. We also visited the Taipei 101 back in the city.

Continue reading “Taiwan: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Old Street, Jiufen Village”

Taiwan: Visiting Zhinan Temple and Riding the Maokong Gondola

Processed with VSCO with c9 presetLast week, I spent four days in Taiwan with my mom. I’d say it’s one of my most favorite destinations to date (not that I haven’t traveled a lot), because we were able to see, taste, and experience so much on a fairly affordable budget! Continue reading “Taiwan: Visiting Zhinan Temple and Riding the Maokong Gondola”

Taiwan, July 2018

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Pamulaklakin Forest Trail, Subic

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Subic Beach, Sorsogon

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If only it didn’t entail a long drive across Bicol, I figure Sorsogon’s Subic Beach would be more popular among tourists — its white sands and turqouise waters rival that of Caramoan, Boracay et al. We were fortunate to enjoy its cool, quiet beauty on a Good Friday, with great friends. At sunset its pale sand takes on a pinkish hue, thanks to a few red coral particles.

The beach has a local thriving tourist industry made up of store and hut owners, even masseuses and craftspeople. but I should mention that it’s is in danger of being spoiled as its seems ill-equipped to handle large drove of tourists just yet. Sewage and garbage management issues aren’t seen in mine (and other visitors’) photos, but they are there, especially on peak seasons like Lent. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the trip.

Tagiti Falls, Consosep

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There’s more to Bicol than mountains and the great Mayon. In Camarines Sur, Tagiti Falls is a must-visit destination for its proximity to other attractions such as Deer Farm and Hibiscus Garden. From the main hi way there are signs (or friendly locals) who will point you towards the start of the pretty trail. Be prepared to pay around P15-20 / head for local fees. The water was icy-cool even in the midst of Lent season’s scorching summer heat. It’s not plagued by long tourist groups so we spent a good half hour just sitting on the rocks, taking in all the nature and enjoying the almost-holy quiet.

All photos taken with a Huawei P10 and post processed using the VSCO App

Bicol Photo Diary: Panoramic views and the Deer Farm in Ocampo

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My visits to Bicol have always been very chill and relaxed, but last week we had quite a packed itinerary, thanks to fortuitous circumstances and some spur-of-the-moment planning! We went to several towns and this is the first of a series of posts about my longest (and most event-filled) visit to Ranie’s hometown — so far πŸ™‚

I still spent Monday and Tuesday primarily at work, hogging a couple of couches in some neigborhood coffee shops. But on Wednesday afternoon, we piled into a couple of cars and drove through Ocampo’s scenic highways to visit the Deer Farm — who knew?! After rows and rows of rice paddies and small houses, there the deer were — serenely napping in groups unless they were feeling hungry for sweet potatoes. Entrance to this sanctuary is free, and it’s a great stopover especially if you’re with children.

It was the first of several newfound discoveries about Bicol on this trip. The weather was cool and the rolling hills were begging for selfies and then some. Ranie’s friend, Francia, happens to be a wedding photographer / videographer and she wasted no time in setting us up in various layouts for a very late prenup / very early honeymoon shoot — we were more than willing to pose anyway.

Before heading to our next destination (to be revealed in the next post), we drove through a highway that thoroughly resembles Tagaytay, except that there is nothing on each side of the road except tall grass and overlooking views of more rice paddies and coconut farms. We stopped at the side of the road to have lunch, and I was surprised with how cool the weather was, high up on those hills!

I must admit that though I’ve always known Bicol to be a beautiful, wide region, I’ve never truly understood or appreciated its vastness until last week. I got to experience both everyday life and “adventure life” and felt so good throughout that the idea of staying here for longer periods didn’t seem too intimidating or impossible. Now if only 4G were more available everywhere…